Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Alchemy Revisited

The ancient alchemists believed that the world was composed of only a few elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Modern chemistry tells us that there are literally hundreds of different elements making up our world. Yet physics breaks these down into a few particles which, when rearranged, can become anything. Further, this elemental physics only defines matter. But energy is also seen as a component of things.
I would argue that the ancient alchemists were right, but concerning physics rather than chemistry. For our universe seems to have two major components: substance -- of which everything is made -- and fabric -- the fabric of space: a canvas on which substance is painted. I would further argue that substance can exist as solid, gas, energy, or liquid (earth, air, fire, or water), and that it can change back and forth between them. Substance is anything we can measure and affect directly.
Many people also consider spirit to be a major component of things. In many religious traditions spirit is that which binds all things together. It can also be one of the most elementary components of all substance. Seen this way, it can be argued that everything which exists has a spiritual nature.

No comments:

Post a Comment